Yes, you read that right–at The Centr we believe virtual assistants are not the best solution for the overwhelmed business owner. But, before we get into why we believe that, let’s explain exactly what a virtual assistant is. A virtual assistant is an assistant that works with a business owner directly in a one-to-one capacity. The virtual assistant can be located anywhere both inside or outside of the U.S. and they are generally known for their ability to “wear many hats” or do a large variety of tasks for the business owner. In the virtual assistant and business owner dynamic the business owner generally assumes the role of recruiter, trainer, project manager, facilitator, etc. to ensure that the virtual assistant has the tools they need to be successful. That is a basic explanation of what a virtual assistant is–now on to why we don’t see virtual assistants as the best solution for the majority of business owners.
Below is a list of some of the ways we have found that the virtual assistant model falls short.
- Having a virtual assistant does not solve the turnover problem business owners face. If you own a business with employees you know that turnover can be a real problem. Not only is it a huge financial burden to recruit and train new employees but it is time consuming as well. And unfortunately, having a virtual assistant does nothing to alleviate this problem. You may think, well if I hire a virtual assistant I will have less on my plate so I will have more time to recruit/hire talent for my business. While that may be true, it doesn’t account for the turnover that can (and likely will) happen within the virtual assistant role. Also, because the role is often filled by a single person there is no redundancy in the work. Meaning that if you lose that virtual assistant then you are starting right back at the beginning which causes your business to lose momentum.
- The virtual assistant model is not a scalable model. As we mentioned in the explanation of what a virtual assistant is, virtual assistants are generally known for doing a large variety of tasks and while this is often true and sounds great it can be very limiting. It is very rare that an individual with a wide variety of skills is an expert in all or any of those tasks. That means there is a point at which the business owner will need more and the virtual assistant will not be able to deliver. So how do you scale this model? The short answer is, you don’t.
- One virtual assistant cannot possibly handle all the pressure points associated with doing business. Don’t misunderstand us, we are not dissing virtual assistants, certainly taking some of the work burden off is better than nothing. But the fact of the matter is that what consumers expect from businesses is growing and changing constantly. Many times these pressures are what get business owners thinking about outsourcing to begin with. But if you yourself are not able to handle all of these demands then hiring a single person to handle them isn’t much of a solution. There is a reason large corporations spend a lot on having full teams just for marketing. To stay competitive within your market you have to constantly be producing a large variety of content on different platforms and that is just one area of business! Now, we are not saying that it is right for every business to hire full teams for different areas of business. We are just pointing out that a virtual assistant specifically may not be the magical solution you were hoping for.
Those are just a few reasons why we don’t see hiring a virtual assistant as the end all be all solution that it is sometimes portrayed as. Certainly, there are businesses and individuals who have had positive experiences when hiring a virtual assistant. We wouldn’t dream of discounting that–but in our experience we have not seen this outsourcing model help business owners get away from the day-to-day tasks associated with doing business. That is why we created a concept called Teamsourcing. If you have never heard of Teamsourcing it is a blend of all of the best parts of the most common outsourcing models. With Teamsourcing we combat the pains of turnover by offering our clients access to fully trained, professional teams in areas of Service and Support, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Technology. These teams are recruited and trained by us. That means when turnover occurs we absorb it and it is not felt by our clients. This model blends the ease of working with a one-to-one facilitator, while giving the client access to talented specialists depending on their needs. So business owners no longer have to be the project manager; they can be as immersed or uninvolved as they choose. If you are interested in learning more about our Teamsourcing model then check out: https://thecentr.com/.